"Find life experiences and swallow them whole. travel. meet many people. go down some dead ends and explore dark alleys. try everything. exhaust yourself in the glorious pursuit of life."

Monday, June 10, 2013

Jakobsweg: part one

So its been five days since my dad and I departed Salzburg and took several trains to Rorscach, Switzerland, on the shore of lake Constance.  On our first day, we didnt arrive in Rorscach until 2:30.  We hiked for 8.8 miles to St. Gallen.  We quickly were introduced to Switzerlands hilly terrain, ascending constantly up.  We passed by old women raking hay into lines to dry in the sun and walked through farms and villages.  When we finally arrived in St. Gallen, we were exhausted.
The next morning we had a traditional Swiss feast of good bread, cheese, and a soft boiled egg.After some delightful conversation, we began our trip to Herisau.  This was a fairly flat day weaving in and out of forest trails up to the town.  our host famiky, the Hausers welcomed us to join them at a local music event, which turned out to be several bands including a highschool pep band! We were surprised to hear them start to play Gangnam style, which was very intetesting. 
After another wonderful breakfast the next morning, we began our trio to Wattwill.  We didn't know what we were getting ourselves into.  That day we climbed and climbed, reaching 1094m at Sitz, a ski lift followed our path.  Only then did we go down and then back up and down again and up.  Everywhere we looked was an amazing panorama of rolling green hills covered in yellow and purple flowers.  Houses dotted the open stretches of hillside and cow bells were ringing in the air. We made a wrong turn at one pt, adding 1.5mi to our trip.  Once back on the trail, we walked through the small town of St.Peterzell and up a crossing to descend a steep slope into Wattwill.  After 18 mi, we were ready for bed.  Unfortunately, we couldn't find where we were staying and ended up being turned around by poor directions for an hour until finally someone offered to drive us there.  When we get to the house, however, the family wasn't there!  After much help from a friendly neighbor, we found a place to sleep in another house.  The women greeted us with a homemade flower extract drink made from the elder bush that was absolutely amazing.  She said it was her first opportunity to speak English because she had only read it before.  While the day was exhausting, it ended on a highnote.
Our trip to Rapperswill was another18 mi day, but a little more manageable.  There was a steep climb to get out if the city, but after that it was "flat"(at least for the Swiss).  We came into the city with a beautiful sweeping view overlooking Lake Zurich. 
Today we made our way to Einsiendeln ( about ten miles).  We had a very steep climb out of the city (I think there is a trend forming here), followed by sloping meadows and a "plateau" which brought us to Lake Sihl.  From there we made our descent into Eisiendeln, with the large kloster (abbey) looming on the side of a hill.
After only five days on the trail, I've picked up a few things: dehydration can make you do funny things, no matter how much moleskin you wear you will get blisters, I never want to rake hay along the hills these people have (absolutely crazy), its perfectly normal to walk into someones house to ask for water, and there is a littl old lady somewhere between herisau and wattwill who is the nicest woman ever ( she just kept chatting away in German, just happy to talk to someone even if we had no idea what she was saying).
In the next few days we will sleep in straw in Brunnen, then make our way to Stans and Flueli Ranft.  It has been quite the experience so far!!

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